I know a little something about being bisexual and if there was a “regret” in any of this, it’s that I had to find out what I’ve learned by trial and error as well as always looking for answers to questions that, in the early days, a polite society didn’t want to hear, let alone provide any answers. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Man, if I’d had a mentor, someone to guide me through all the shit that comes with being bisexual, I’d either be a much better bisexual… or I would have seen the light and started running as fast as I metaphorically could in the other direction!”
And if wishes were horses…
In my quest to understand bisexuality (and then figure out how it all applies to me), I came into contact with a lot of people who wanted to know the same things I wanted to know, met people who were out there doing their dirt and without a clue as to why they were doing it (other than the obvious), why they couldn’t do it, and many other questions; some were falling into pitfalls and other problems, finding themselves wondering just what the hell went wrong and I remember, from those early days, thinking that if those folks had known what I’d learned before leaping into this, maybe they would have fared better or they would have decided not to leap at all.
What they say about making informed decisions does make a lot of sense…
I’d find myself talking to guys and listening to them speak about not understanding why they had this urge to find out what it was like to have sex with another guy or, if they had managed to accomplish this in some way, well, damn, why did they like it? Were they some kind of freak? Were they cut from the same cloth as the many flamboyant gay men roaming the city – trust me, even Stevie Wonder could have seen them? Many would “confess” to wanting to check it out so the questions were along the lines of what to do if they did, even how to do it and, most of all, how to do it without anyone finding out that they (a) wanted to do it or (b) were actually doing it. Ha, sometimes, the topic would be broached by this rather transparent question: “If some dude rolled up on you and asked if he could suck your dick, um, what would you do or say?” I’ve even had this topic come up with a classic opener: “Ya know, uh, there’s this guy I know who wants to do it with another guy… what should he do?”
Yeah, that one still cracks me up,even today…
Sometimes, I’d feign ignorance; you just knew there were some folks you’d better not have this conversation with. Sometimes, I really didn’t know the answer to their question which would have the effect of having me go find it; sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t – really, there was no such animal as a “bisexual primer” one could refer to. I found that while I could tell them what I’d do or even what I’d done, you wind up getting a lesson in what works for one isn’t guaranteed to work for someone else. Yeah, sometimes, answering their questions required action; it’s easier to show you than to sound like an idiot trying to explain something that even I was finding out was a lot more complicated than it appeared to be. More often than not, though, I found myself telling a lot of guys that even though they had this very powerful urge to check this out, it might be in their best interest not to; with some guys, you could just sense that they were on the verge of making a decision that would turn out very badly.
Yeah, sounds kinda strange that a guy who liked having sex with guys would tell another guy not to do it; sometimes, “Do as I say, not as I do” can make some sense.
The Internet came long, opening up a wealth of information, exposing me to many more men who had the same questions I’d had… but no answers; when the World Wide Web started sprouting forums, I found myself joining them as well as discovering that, man, there were a lot of men who were just like me or wanted to be like me; some quite successful, many more floundering over how to get started, and many more still trying and failing. My online time was spent not only learning everything I could about this Internet/World Wide Web thing but having deep conversations with these guys right along with local dudes who sought answers or solutions and the things I was learning along the way were staggering. Guys would ask if I could help them understand this and, admittedly, sometimes, I said I couldn’t because I really didn’t want to tell them something and things went badly for them and, like I said, you just somehow knew that getting into this just wouldn’t be in the guy’s best interest. Sometimes, I’d help them understand this; you also knew which guys would benefit from being told about the things I’d learned “the hard way.”
Yeah, and sometimes, it was still better to show them than to fumble around looking for the words to use that would make sense and, besides, experience is still the best teacher. To that end, you’d think that I’d leap at the chance to show them the ropes – and sometimes I was… but most of the time I wasn’t and while there were times when I’d feel bad about suggesting they “practice” on someone else, there were times when I knew it wouldn’t be in my best interest to be the first one to show them.
Leap forward a lot of years, a lot of experiences (some good, some bad), and access to more information and people than could have been imagined. Over that time and for reasons I didn’t pretend to understand, I felt that I had a “responsibility” to share what I’d learned with those folks who really needed to know just what the fuck they were feelings or what, if anything, they could do about those feelings and while I could have just shrugged and said, “I don’t know…,” I also felt that this would be a very wrong answer to give them so I’d tell them what I’d learned, what I’d experienced, both the good and bad of things and always with the caveat that their experiences might be very different and that chances were good that instead of finding success, all they might find was failure, frustration, and disappointment tossed in with a dash of disillusionment.
And, sadly, sometimes the latter was exactly what they found; if you wanna get into sucking a guy’s dick, that can be a bit difficult if you live in a place where like-minded guys are scarce or the social angst against this kind of stuff could have very negative effects.
Since I started writing about this here on my blog – and, after reading a lot of blogs written by people who sought information or was, in my opinion, providing newbies with flawed information – well, I kinda knew what I had to do. I read about so many people diving into this deep end of the pool and doing so without knowing or understanding what lay beneath the rather murky waters. Shit, I’m no world-acclaimed expert… but I know what’s in the deep end and I read that many of them were making mistakes that, if someone would have told them about this before the fact, perhaps they wouldn’t have made a mistake or they would have gone about this a bit differently. So instead of lurking, I started commenting, adding my two cents worth to the mix and with no other purpose than to share the things that took me decades to learn by one means or another.
Why? Because someone had to do it; someone had to pull the rose-colored glasses off; someone had to debunk the myths and stereotypes and, basically, tell it like it is. Even today, I sit and read what others write about bisexuality and I still see a lot of the misinformation, myths, stereotypes and even fears that existed when I first stepped onto this path. I read stuff that I call psychobabble, sometimes a really funny way of applying scientific methodology to something that still tends to resist being scientifically quantified; I’ve read some stuff that even with my level of intelligence and knowledge, has had me asking my monitor (or the cat), “What they hell are they talking about?” When the whole biphobia thing came along – as well as that “hearts, not parts” thing being bandied about, well, let’s just say that those things were responsible for me to keep writing about being bisexual when I had it in my mind to never write about it again. Like, the other day, I read about a guy who got subjected to an aspect of this among males that just broke his heart and made him think that he was doing the wrong things for himself, making me wonder if anyone even bothered to tell him that just because you sleep with another dude and kinda expect him to be all into you afterward, um, no, that’s probably not gonna be the case nor will it be a very desirable outcome for him to keep thinking that just because he has a romantic bent to his approach to bisexuality doesn’t mean that other men are gonna be bent that way as well.
My current protegé has been picking my mind apart about being bisexual and I am enjoying our conversations on this and many other topics. If I’ve not learned anything about being bisexual, it’s that being bisexual, in and of itself, isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be… but if you can’t talk to someone about being bisexual, yeah,that can be a lot worse and if it’s true that bisexuals tend to suffer more mental illnesses than those who aren’t bisexual (and I’m not totally sold on this because, um, don’t we all have issues?), a lot of it is because no one will bother to take the time to talk about this and in a real-life, plain language way. As many of you have seen me write, sometimes, ignorance is not bliss, silence isn’t golden, and what you don’t know could possibly kill you. As I’ve learned to do over the years, I challenge my protegé’s motives and even his intelligence; I challenge the way he thinks about this, challenge the way he’s looking at what he’s doing and, sometimes, how he goes about doing things. And he soaks it in and while I wouldn’t dare say that we agree on everything we talk about – if you could, you could ask him how many times I’ve said to him, “Um, I wouldn’t do that…” – what this discourse is about is sharing what I know about this and then stepping back and letting him decide for himself which way the wind is blowing for him because, still, an informed decision is much better than not being informed at all.
It does my heart a lot of good to be able to do this; if I can help someone figure this bisexual thing out and to whatever conclusions they come to about it, then I’ve done a good thing… and even if the best “advice” I can offer is for them to stay on the side of the pool. We get so absorbed in doing when, really, we should always think first… then act if we must…or if acting is even possible; that’s so much better than diving in and finding out that, uh, you don’t know how to swim. Yet and still, there are some things that one must eventually learn “the hard way,” aren’t there? In order to make a mistake, well, you gotta do something or not do something in order to prove and confirm that it was, indeed, a mistake; yes, it’s easy for me to tell someone, “Um, I wouldn’t do that and here’s why I wouldn’t…” but at the end of any day, ultimately, the decision to do – or do not – is theirs alone and my “job” as a mentor is to be there for them through their successes and their failures.
So I keep writing about it, sharing my thoughts and experiences because, well, it could make a difference in someone else’s life one way or the other…